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Ponty prove too strong for Reds

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IT was always going to be a tough ask when Llanelli Town travelled to meet opponents vying for the league title just two points behind current leaders, Llantwit Major, but with the contest level on 1-1 at the break, the visitors could feel satisfied with their efforts and had more than matched the home side in many aspects of the game.

Once again, the academy provided over half of the Reds` personnel due to injuries, and the youngsters brought in are not letting the occasion overawe them, and hopefully will be better players in the future for the experience.

The match began in the worst possible manner for the visitors, with the Dragons taking the lead after just 4 minutes when a far post delivery by Vaughan Fowler led to Sam Johnson being afforded far too much space to line up his finish and slot it past Exauce Dimonekene.

This setback could well have affected the manner of the Reds` play, but to their credit they kept probing at the home side and were rewarded for their efforts with a well-worked goal in the 16th minute when a move involving a number of players and carried on by Thomas Hillman and captain Louis Gerrard culminated in the latter taking the ball in his stride before beating goalkeeper Morgan Davies with a crisp strike.

Both sides then went close to taking the lead with the Dragons catching out the visitors with a quickly-taken free kick which forced Dimonekene to divert clear from Johnson`s finish.

When the Reds countered, a teasing cross high into the box by Hillman forced Jordan Knott to hack his attempted clearance over the home goal, and the impressive Hillman was involved again, this time with a delivery into the middle which Sam Parsons met with a flying header which sailed over the top.

The main worry for the visitors was that they were being caught continually on the back foot whenever the home side took a quick set-piece, and their goal survived a narrow escape from such a situation with a deflection saving an almost certain score.

As the half drew to a close, the Dragons were once again beginning to gain the upper hand, and had strong appeals for a penalty turned down by referee Kris Hames when a home player was floored in the area just before the break.

When the second half started, the Reds might have made more of an opportunity which arose when Ryan Bevan put in a strong run towards the home goal which seemed to favour a shot on target, but he elected instead to try and find another colleague and the chance was lost.

At the other end, Dimonekene dealt comfortably with an Aiden Lewis effort, before the visitors were forced into a change on 52 minutes with midfielder Owain Phillips-Taylor being forced off injured and Callum Saunders coming on in his place.

This disruption seemed to affect the Reds to such an extent that they were never the same outfit which had up to that point matched the hosts, and the game swung dramatically in the favour of the Dragons when within the space of eight minutes of the enforced substitution they scored twice to take the contest away from the visitors.

The first was a superb strike by Ian Traylor who met a ball which had been partially cleared before lashing it home via the underside of the bar on 57 minutes, and before the visitors had time to digest this setback the Dragons made it three, when Drew Fahiya saw his initial attempt kept out by Dimonekene but who was then helpless to prevent the home player from turning in the rebound on the hour.

The hosts were now well on top with their two-goal cushion, and they put their opponents under some severe pressure, with Lewis striking the outside of the post, while Dimonekene frantically scrambled to retrieve the loose ball following a melee in front of the net.

It was seemingly now a case of damage-limitation for the Reds, but they fell even further behind in the 72nd minute when they again failed to prevent their opponents from profiting from another quickly-taken free kick which allowed Fowler to gain possession before finding the bottom corner.

Dimonekene prevented another certain goal when he kept out a close range header from Corey Jenkins, but the final whistle confirmed what was eventually a comfortable home win which keeps their title hopes firmly on track.

The Reds are without a game next weekend prior to their double-header over the Easter holiday when they face Briton Ferry Llansawel away on Good Friday before the Easter Monday return at Stebonheath.

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Rob Evans and Steff Hughes leaving Scarlets

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SCARLETS has confirmed that Rob Evans and Steff Hughes are amongst the nine players who will be leaving the club at the end of the 2021-22 season.

It has already been announced that Liam Williams has signed for Cardiff Rugby and Angus O’Brien is rejoining the Dragons for next season, while James Davies revealed in April that he is retiring from the game on medical grounds.

As well as Rob and Steff, the Llanelli-based side will also be saying its farewells and thanks to Tyler Morgan, Marc Jones, Tom Phillips and Tomi Lewis after Saturday’s final URC match of the season against DHL Stormers.

Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel said: “I’d like to thank all these players for everything they have given to the Scarlets jersey.

“Boys like Rob, Steff, Cubby and Liam have played more than a century of games for the club and they will be fondly remembered by everyone here, staff, team-mates and supporters.

“They can be extremely proud of what they have achieved and I am sure they will have great memories of representing the Scarlets over the years.

“Every season players move on and we always respect the decisions that are made. With a reduced playing budget, we have had to cut our squad for next season and that has meant we have had some difficult decisions to make.

“The players have continued to give their full commitment, as they have always done, and I’m sure our supporters will give them the reception they all deserve at our final game against the Stormers on Saturday. I wish them all well for what comes next.”

SCARLETS LEAVERS 2021-22

ROB EVANS
The Pembrokeshire loose-head came through the Scarlets Academy and after playing for Carmarthen Quins in the Welsh Premiership made his senior debut against Sale Sharks in January 2013. Rob has made 156 Scarlets appearances and scored 13 tries, including one in Glasgow that secured a memorable away semi-final victory in the PRO14. Was a member of the side that lifted the Guinness PRO12 title in 2017 and will be remembered as a larger than life character around the squad during his 10 seasons at Parc y Scarlets. Capped 39 times for Wales,

LIAM WILLIAMS

Liam Williams is bringing to an end his second spell with the Scarlets. The 31-year-old Wales international full-back and British & Irish Lion has played 119 games for the club and has scored 34 tries, one of which set the Scarlets on their way to PRO12 glory in the final in 2017. Liam is joining Cardiff Rugby for next season.

STEFF HUGHES

Steff Hughes has made 104 appearances and scored seven tries for the Scarlets since making his debut at centre in an LV=Cup game against Saracens nine years ago. A former Wales U20s captain, the Llanelli product has skippered the Scarlets on numerous occasions, including the memorable European pool win in Bath in 2020. His two tries in a thrilling home clash against Connacht in the same season helped secure Champions Cup qualification once again.

JAMES DAVIES

James Davies has retired from rugby on medical grounds after battling concussion issues. ‘Cubby Boi’ made his Scarlets debut in 2013 and went on to make 101 appearances in a Scarlets jersey. Delivered a superb try-scoring display in the PRO12 title-winning triumph over Munster and went on to win 11 caps for Wales. Cubby also represented Wales 7s at the Commonwealth Games and Team GB at the 2016 Olympics.

MARC JONES

The experienced hooker joined the Scarlets from Sale in the summer of 2018 after making more than 150 appearances for the Sharks. The 35-year-old played 46 times for the Scarlets over four seasons, scoring four tries.

ANGUS O’BRIEN

Angus O’Brien made his Scarlets debut in 2018 and has made 45 appearances, scoring 112 points, including seven tries. The fly-half is returning to play for his home region, the Dragons, ahead of the 2022-23 campaign.

TOM PHILLIPS

A former Wales U20s Grand Slam-winning captain, Tom has played 30 matches for the Scarlets since making his senior debut in 2015. Suffered a serious knee ligament injury in the opening URC match of the season in Edinburgh.

TYLER MORGAN

The Wales international centre has been at the Scarlets for two seasons, making his debut in the Challenge Cup quarter-final defeat in Toulon in 2020. The 26-year-old has made 22 appearances, scoring one try.

TOMI LEWIS

A Wales sevens international,Tomi has made two senior appearances for the Scarlets. Returned to action this season after a lengthy absence recovering from knee surgery and has been playing in the Indigo Premiership for Llandovery RFC.

Physiotherapist Carys Moggridge is also leaving the Scarlets to take up a role with the Welsh Rugby Union.

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Matchroom Whites win Worthington Cup

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MATCHROOM Whites have won the Llanelli Snooker League’s Worthington Cup team final, after a 4-1 victory in the final against Morfa Social

A highlight of the match was another fine Tyler Rees break of 89, although the maximum was on at one point.

Tyler Rees’ winning streak wasn’t over though, as he teamed up with his Matchroom teammate Chris Davies to win the final of the Doubles tournament, defeating Dean Bowen and Mark Sargent; more nice breaks in this one, Rees firing another 68, while Chris Davies added a fine 71.

Meanwhile, more success for the Matchroom came with Matchroom Blacks’ 4-1 Division 2 Olympic Cup final victory at the expense of Reading Room Reds, with Ryan Maides, Adrian Davies, Rhys Morgan and Thomas Williams winning; just Phil Payne offered any winning resistance for the Burry Port side.

Meanwhile, Ammanord Snooker World’s leftie Anthony Krysa is through to the final of this year’s Singles, after a 3-0 victory against Kev Gronow of the Gremlin Club; Krysa made some nice breaks, including a fine 75 knock.

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Llanelli Snooker League: Trimsaran clinch runners-up spot

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THE curtain came down on the Llanelli Snooker League with the final league fixtures seeing Trimsaran clinch the runners-up spot behind champions Matchroom Reds.

Trim secured two 6-1 wins, a rearranged victory over Cross Hands B, as well as a 6-1 victory against Pontarddulais Workmens’, the undoubted highlight a superb 110 break from Jamie Tudor; Lewis Lloyd, Kieran Proctor (49 break), Wayne Thomas (29 & 25) and Alan Emanuel added wins, Keri Davies (50 break) the only Bont reply.

Relegated bottom – Ponthenri Social went out with a bang, defeating Upper Tumble Blues 6-1, courtesy of Jeff Howells, Mark Regola, Kevin Lewis, Nigel Lewis and Dylan James; only John Shields replied.

Peter Shoulder and Chris Lloyd were on top for Llanesco, beaten 5-2 by Matchroom Whites; Tyler Rees (45 & 35 breaks), Chris Davies, Wayne Bowen and Dai Keenan won for the “Gwyns”.

Elsewhere, Snooker World Whites hammered Llanelli Cons 7-0, D.Jones, A.Krysa, Ben Thomas, A.Whitfield, Sam Hinton and John Meadows completing the rout.

Alex Dickie prevented the “whitewash” as Cross Hands B crashed again, 6-1 at Gorseinon Workmens’; Charlie Bolton, Mike Dodd, Johnny Wilcox, Roy Wilcox and Jordan Davies all won for the Brighton Road side.

Kevin Selwood, Kieran Evans, Paul Rees and Alun Harris gave Pontyberem Workmens’ a 5-2 win against Burry Port Legion (Con Club), who hit back via Garnet Lane and Rich Nurse.

Morfa Social’s winners in a 5-2 win at Reading Room Blues were Scott Ashford, Andrew Hatto, Barry Follows and Greg Davies; Adrian Gower and Neil Roberts struck for the Burry Porters.

In Division 2, champions Gremlins were defeated 6-1 at Upper Tumble Reds, for whom Nigel Beynon, Nolan Allison, Alan Griffiths, Kevin Evans and Mike Sainty (53 break) won; just Matthew Dagnall won for the title-winners.

Matchroom Blacks secured the runners-up spot following a 4-3 win against New Lodge, thanks to Rhys Morgan (37 break), Ryan Maides and James Anthony; Gary Williams, George Langford and Phil Thickett replied.

Steve Pearson was Llandybie Social B’s solitary frame winner in a 6-1 defeat as Llandybie RFC took the village honours after Steffan Crump, Sion Isaac, Josh Jordan, Callum Isaac and Kalem James all won.

Bryn A edged a 4-3 success at Snooker World Blues, courtesy of Roy Richards, Clive Richards and Connor Sharples (32); Peter Howatson, Chris Waters and Steff Rees won for the Ammanford side.

Tycroes RFC end the season bottom after a 5-2 loss at CGMD, whose winners were Ray Evans, James Varney, Mike Llewelyn and Brian Chappell; Marc Walters and Arwyn Rees won for the away side.

Meanwhile, Tony Shadrach and Geraint Thomas were Pont Cons frame winners in a 5-2 loss at Cross Hands A; for the latter, Howell Pritchard, Jeff Howells (23) Matthew James (22) and Dai Bunford were on the ball.

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